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their heads; all nature is re-adorned with a new and vernal robe; and the scent of life is again wafted upon the gale. But greater stilt and more glorious is the change, which the Spirit of Chitt; poured out upon a single soul, or, as in the case of Cornelius, upon a whole household, is known to produce. And until this is done, how lamentable, desolate, and void, does all appear in individuals and families! What a poor, insipid life do they lead! The world absorbs all that they havetheir minds, their affections, their understanding. Their thoughts flit only, as it were, around the flesh-pots and furnaces of Egypt; their desires and their hopes grovel on the ground, and feed upon the earth. Their lips are opened merely about bodily gratifications, worldly business, and the things of time. Their whole life and being, with its incitements, exertions, and entire conduct, its joys and its sorrows, its hopes and its fears, all proceed in the same worldly track, and the whole man is laden more and more with its thick clay: every care is low, and more or less selfish and ignoble, without God, without light, without heavenly-mindedness, and full of sin. The angels of God cannot endure such a sight. But lo! salvation comes to this house; the reviving dew descends upon this dreary wild. Now come and behold what a change is produced! The glory of the Lord filleth the house. How holy is the place become! The self-seeking spirit of the world is expelled, and replaced by the “quiet spirit” of humility and love. The conversation is in heaven; the worry of earthly excitement is cast off; the thoughts, wishes, and desires, find wings for higher aims. The treasure is discovered to be elsewhere, and therefore the heart is there also. Other bread and other water are now known of, and therefore another kind of thirst and hunger is experienced. Other objects have engaged the interest, and therefore the language and conversation have assumed another tone. They have become savoury and spiritual ; and after a spiritual and godly manner is all their business transacted. The very chambers of the house are perfumed with the sweet incense of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, ascending day and night before the Lord. Heretofore, all was without form and void, and darkness upon the face of the deep; but now is the light sprung up within it, and the wilderness blooms in beauty. This is the Lord's doing, who hath said, “I will be as the dew unto Israel."
Oh that we had every one experienced Him as the dew to our souls! But, brethren-observe and mark it well—the very dew, precious as it is, can even occasion rottenness to the fields. This is the case when it meets with too cold an atmosphere; then it stiffens into rime, and destroys vegetation. Even so, Christ, the precious Dew of God, has proved to many a soul. Witness that awful and striking instance of it, in
Judas Iscariot. Covetousness and stubbornness were in him. What then could his spirit breathe to Christ, but wintry air ? Hence that dew descending upon him, became to his soul as the cold rime, or stiffening ice. Every thing which Jesus did by word and example, or with allurements and warnings, to effect an entrance into the spirit of that false disciple, produced effects the very opposite to those of the genial dew; served only to embitter his spirit, and to harden his heart more and more; to mature his corruption, to ripen him for perdition, and to hasten his condemnation. Yet who was to blame, but Judas? May God preserve every one of us from a similar judgment, and forbid, that the precious dew of heaven, which alone can revive us to eternal life, should become as a chilling hoar-frost, and fetters of ice to our souls, through the infidel coldness and adverse breath of some besetting sin!
And how should we praise and bless God, whoever of
us has experienced and still experiences the enlivening, refreshing, fructifying power of this divine dew ! But what if you experience it not at every moment; or are not able fully to realize its sweet refreshment for days, or even for weeks together? This must not set you wrong, or confound you. He who is the Dew of God, oftentimes withdraws himself for a while from his field, the soul. Then will droop the plants of faith and love,
of confidence and joy ; then is there no life for prayer, praise, and thanksgiving; but all is dryness and wretchedness. Still, wait upon the Lord; for he intends you should only the more experience how much depends on that Divine dew; and how necessary it is for working and effecting every thing. When the hour for its return is arrived, then will it surely come, and cause you again feelingly to rejoice in its beneficial efficacy. And oh,what a rejoicing is it, when after a tedious sultry season of drought, the precious dew and gracious rain again descend! It is then we learn duly to value such an inestimable blessing, and more fully to enter into the . meaning of that promise of the Lord, “I will be as the dew unto Irsael."
II. As Christ represents himself in the text, under the figure of the dew, so he compares his bride the church, and herein every believing soul, to the beautiful lily: "I will be as the dew unto Israel,” so that “he shall grow as the
This similitude, also, is of great significance and importance. The inhabitants of Palestine probably knew of no flower more truly sweet and lovely, than the noble lily. As the nightin
* In the Lutheran version, the word "lily” is “ rose :” the translator has, however, preferred the English rendering as most correct, and has accordingly followed it throughout this
gale among the songsters of the grove, so was to them the lily among flowers, eloquent in showing forth the praises of its Creator. Without either living voice or sound, without the rustle of the palm trees in the valley of Rephaim, or the roar of the cedars on Mount Lebanon, it seems as if created simply to bespeak the glory of Him who formed it. So Israel, “ the seed" of him that “shall prolong his days,” Is. liii. 10, is formed and planted in the great wilderness of mankind, to show forth the virtues of his Maker, 1 Pet. ii. 9, who hath redeemed Jacob, Is. xliv. 23, and is beautifully glorious in Israel. Likewise, St. Paul speaks of real Christians as "foreordained to the praise of the glory of his grace," Eph. i. 5, 6, and as "God's workmanship;" as being from the root to the crown, conformed to the lovely image of his Son. His light is declared to shine in them; and his Spirit to be breathed by them. Whatever is bright and beautiful in them, is spoken of as God's; and only what is dark, as their own. The Urim and Thummim, the light and integrity, which they bear in their bosom, shining like a breastplate, the Lord hath "put” them there. Consequently their song is, “Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give glory, for thy loying mercy and thy truth's sake," Ps. cxv. 1. The power of his loving mercy and grace is, to his praise, made visible in those who are born again. “We have," says Paul, “this treasure